To some, spirituality is a concept that is hard to define. For the Sisters of Bon Secours, spirituality is a simple, but powerful essential element that shapes the way each of us leads our lives every day.
Sr. Justine Cyr, Spiritual Director at the Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Marriottsville, MD and a past Provincial and Superior General of the Congregation, starts the conversation about spirituality by outlining what it is not. “The spirituality of the Congregation of Bon Secours is not otherworldly. Quite the opposite. It is how you live what you believe. That is what the first sisters did when they saw the suffering of those around them in 1824 France after the Revolution. They put their belief in bringing physical and spiritual wholeness to any person who was suffering in action by caring for the sick and dying in their homes, helping them come to understand the redemptive meaning of suffering and demonstrating through their compassion God’s love for all,” she explains.
While the ways in which that spirituality is expressed has evolved over the years to meet the changes in people’s needs and our world, the basis of the spirituality of the Sisters of Bon Secours still rests on Foundress Josephine Potel’s vision that within human suffering can be found redemption when people who are filled with faith make themselves fully present to those who are suffering.
The dignity and value of each person
All created in God’s image, all people are equal and are to be treated with dignity no matter what their social status is, what faith they belong to, what type of problem or illness they are struggling with, each person must be treated with compassion and respect.
Whether we are providing health care in one of our hospitals, hope and encouragement to families in one of our hospices or nursing care centers, spiritual guidance at our Retreat Center, or support and encouragement to our neighbors at an after-school program for at risk children or a center for women who are victims of abuse, we are committed to providing healing for the whole person, body, mind, and spirit.
Our care of others centers on a dual presence of Christ in those we care for and in ourselves. We seek and find Jesus in those who suffer. We also strive to be an extension of the healing, consoling Jesus for everyone we care for.
Compassion impels you to action
For some, the idea of compassion simply means having pity for another’s pain. But for the Sisters of Bon Secours, compassion must reach beyond empathy and impel you to take action and do something about the suffering of others.
We put our compassion into action in many, many ways that use the diverse talents and creativity of our sisters and lay partners. You can find us providing care and health education to families with no access to health care in one of our mobile clinics. We reach out to immigrants in urban and rural areas, teaching them how to read and write in English so they can find jobs to support their families and better navigate life in a new and unfamiliar country. In partnership with sisters from other congregations, we recently opened a tuition-free middle school to help educate girls in the 5th through 8th grades in inner city Baltimore. We work with people who are dealing with terminal illness, helping ease their physical suffering and we desire to bring hope, meaning and God’s love to those who are ill and the family and friends who love them.
Liberating the potential that dwells in each person
Another cornerstone of our spirituality is a commitment to liberation. We strive to recognize and liberate the potential within each person, especially to the poor or oppressed, so they can be the healthy, valued, productive people they are meant to be.
Liberation can come from different sources, from spiritual guidance that helps you find purpose and peace to fighting the social injustices of poverty and prejudice. Liberation can be as simple as providing the health care needed to allow a child with asthma to run and play with her friends or as complex as working with community organizers to help strengthen and rebuild a neighborhood torn apart by violence and addiction.
As Sisters of Bon Secours, we dedicate ourselves to bringing healing, compassion, and liberation to those in need. It is challenging, even difficult work, but it is essential to build a just and healthy world.
“If you want to understand our spirituality, look at how we live,” says Sr. Justine simply. “Each day, we are living out what we believe.”
Could this spirituality in action be what you are seeking in life? If you would like to experience our life and spirituality first hand, we invite you to visit us.
We are sent to continue the saving Mission of Christ, to be witnesses to His Good News of love, justice and peace, hope and joy. Disciples of Christ, we give testimony by the love we have for one another. It is He we serve without distinction in all to whom we are sent.
We have at heart to make all those we approach aware of their dignity as God’s children, and of the redemptive value of suffering and death.
United to the Virgin Mary who first revealed Christ to the world, we seek in our life and work to reveal the compassionate Christ to others.
In our life of prayer, the Father draws us into union with Himself and reproduces in us through His Spirit the warm, human features of Christ, listening and healing, always open to the needs of others.
present in the Sisters of Bon Secours,
we are called
by God and sent by the Church
To help people to wholeness;
To alleviate human suffering in all forms
especially in the poor and dying;
To help others to an awareness
of the redemptive meaning
of suffering and death—and to an
awareness of their relationship
with the Father.
By…Reproducing in ourselves
Christ always aware of the needs of others.
The founding charism animating the first group of Sisters of Bon Secours is alive and present in each member of the Congregation today.
Through our healing and compassionate presence we express our charism by who we are as well as by our ministry. We are contributing to the transformation of the world:
* Engaged in evangelization.
* Accompanying the poor and oppressed in their struggle for liberation in all its aspects.
* Healing injustices by denouncing its causes in our respect for the dignity of the person.
* Bringing to all a message of hope, particularly to the poor and dying, revealing to people that there is a God who loves them.
We welcome others to share our life and collaborate with us in building up the kingdom of God.
We are women of prayer, supported by faith communities, and in our prophetic stance we bring a radical, innovative response to those in need. We have the courage to stand up for our convictions.